L. Tom Perry (1922-2015)

L. Tom Perry (1922-2015). The oldest living apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died on May 30, 2015 in his Salt Lake City, UT home around 3 p.m. in the afternoon. He was 92 and had been been diagnosed with terminal thyroid cancer just the month before. Perry was the second in line to the LDS presidency.

Perry, whose teenage nickname was “Stretch” because he was 6-foot-4, was sustained as an Assistant to the Twelve Apostles on Oct. 6, 1972, and then became an LDS apostle in April 1974 at the age of 51. He served in the Marines in the Pacific theatre during World War II. Later he graduated from Utah State University with a degree in finance. He worked in the department store industry in Idaho, California, and Boston, MA.

Besides serving as an apostle for more than four decades, Perry served a mission in Ohio, Iowa, and Illinois. Later he became an early-morning seminary teacher, a counselor in a bishopric, a high councilor, a counselor in a stake presidency, and president of the church’s Boston, MA stake.

As far as his personal life, Perry married Virginia in the Logan temple on July 18, 1947. They had three children before Virginia died of cancer in December 1974. In 1976, he was sealed for time and eternity to Barbara Dayton.

According to a 2011 article in the Salt Lake Tribune, Perry was asked by LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley in 2004

to move to Frankfurt, Germany, for two years and watch over the church in Europe. LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley asked Perry to move to Frankfurt, Germany, for two years and watch over the church in Europe. When Perry replied, “I can’t do that, I’m 82,” Hinckley shot back, according to Thompson, “I’m 94. What’s your point?”

And so, like a good soldier, Perry went overseas and, once again, threw himself into the task of energizing the faithful. The night before he left, the apostle reported a powerful impression that he should create an “Outreach Initiative” for youths between ages 18 and 30 to gather at LDS Institutes of Religion near college campuses. The program was implemented, but it wasn’t easy.

“I have learned from my current [European] assignment that sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ involves challenges I had never before imagined,” Perry said in a 2005 General Conference address.to move to Frankfurt, Germany, for two years and watch over the church in Europe.

When Perry replied, “I can’t do that, I’m 82,” Hinckley shot back, according to Thompson, “I’m 94. What’s your point?” And so, like a good soldier, Perry went overseas and, once again, threw himself into the task of energizing the faithful. The night before he left, the apostle reported a powerful impression that he should create an “Outreach Initiative” for youths between ages 18 and 30 to gather at LDS Institutes of Religion near college campuses. The program was implemented, but it wasn’t easy. “I have learned from my current [European] assignment that sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ involves challenges I had never before imagined,” Perry said in a 2005 General Conference address.

The messages given by Perry in General Conferences were typically very benign. Not as blunt or as quote-worthy as other general authorities, Perry usually played it safe and came across as a grandfatherly type of leader. However, he did give a memorable sermon in the April 2015 general conference titled “Why Marriage and Family Matter–Everywhere in the World.” According to the April 8, 2015 Salt Lake Tribune, his message on traditional marriage angered homosexual advocates. The article explained how

the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil-rights organization, expressed “deep disappointment” in Perry’s comments, which it believes “disparag[ed] LGBT families and children as ‘counterfeit.’ ”

Interestingly enough, just a few weeks earlier Perry had drawn praise from homosexual advocates because of his help passing a Utah anti-descrimination law that was passed by the Republican majority in the Utah legislature.

A new man  will eventually be chosen to replace Perry’s position, most likely by the end of the summer. Russell M. Nelson is now second in line to the president, a position based on seniority.

Our Top 10 L. Tom Perry Quotes

Signature of L. Tom Perry

  1. “Thus the Church of Jesus Christ was again in existence on the earth to bless mankind with the doctrines and teaching of the Savior… the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth…you can compare the glorious message with what you may hear from others, and you can determine which is from God and which is from man” (“The Message of the Restoration,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2007, p. 88).

  2. “I bear witness of the power and comfort the gift of the Holy Ghost is to those who live worthy of it. What a reassurance it is for us to know that we are not left alone to find the course that we must follow to merit the eternal blessings of our Father in Heaven. We do not need man-made rating systems to determine what we should read, what we should watch, what we should listen to, or how we should conduct our lives. What we do need to do is live worthy of the continued companionship of the Holy Ghost and have the courage to follow the promptings that come into our lives” (“That Spirit Which Leadeth to Do Good,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1997, p. 70).

  3. “It was the birth of the United States of America that ushered out the Great Apostasy, when the earth was darkened by the absence of prophets and revealed light. It was no coincidence that the lovely morning of the First Vision occurred just a few decades after the establishment of the United States” (“The Tradition of Light and Testimony,” Ensign, December 2012, p. 30).

  4. “Thus the Church of Jesus Christ was again in existence on the earth to bless mankind with the doctrines and teaching of the Savior… the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth…you can compare the glorious message with what you may hear from others, and you can determine which is from God and which is from man” (“The Message of the Restoration,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2007, p. 88).

  5. “Our church is the means by which men and women find our Savior and His gospel…Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, the Lord’s mouthpiece, and the restorer of all things important to building the kingdom of God and preparing for the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we seek our Savior, it is important that we seek Him through His Church. It is through His restored Church that we receive all the saving ordinances necessary to return to Him” (“What Seek Ye?” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2005, p. 85).

  6. “We are living in the remarkable age of the dispensation of the fulness of times, when the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fulness (see D&C 27:13). Our generation also has the benefit of all previous dispensations on which we can build our lives as we understand God’s dealings with His children” (“The Great Plan of Our God,” Ensign, February 2009, p. 66).

  7. “The central purpose of our mortal probation is to prepare to meet God and inherit the blessings He has promised to His worthy children” (“Discipleship,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2000, p. 61).

  8. “A person who petitions the Lord for guidance must be worthy to receive it. His life must be in harmony and in keeping with the standards the Lord has prescribed for His children. His life must be in good standing before God and His people. It must be in harmony with the teachings of the scriptures, the prophets, and the order of the Church” (“We Believe All That God Has Revealed,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2003, p. 86).

  9. “It is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves” (citing Joseph Smith, “We Believe All That God Has Revealed,” Ensign, November 2003, p. 86).

  10. “God’s eternal blessings are contingent upon our obedience and adherence to the word of the Lord that is revealed to us through His holy prophets” (“We believe all that God has revealed,”Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2003, p. 88).

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